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Nokia E7 now shipping 'around the world' but UK launch still set for April

Nokia's E7 smart phone has begun shipping to customers "around the world", the company says, although UK retailers still have the device listed for an April launch here.

Nokia's E7 smart phone finally began shipping to customers yesterday, according to Nokia, but it appears us Brits are still in for a bit of a wait. The handset marries the new Symbian 3 OS with a slide-out keyboard design that harks back to Nokia's classic Communicator devices.

A company blog post merely says, "The hotly anticipated Nokia E7 begins shipping to customers around the world today," without giving any further details of exactly which countries that applies to. A press release clarifies that the E7 will "begin arriving in stores in select markets this week, with broader availability building up quickly in several markets". Again, short on details.

UK retailer Expansys still has the device listed for an April launch -- order now and you can expect shipment "in 63 working days" for a SIM-free price of £494.99. This morning, the company confirmed to CNET UK that Nokia's announcement has not changed that anticipated UK launch date. Vodafone has already confirmed that it's planning to sell the E7 too, but its product page merely says 'Coming Soon' with no date.

The Nokia E7 looked impressive when it was first shown off at the Nokia World conference in London last September. Besides Symbian 3 and the Qwerty keyboard, it sports a 4-inch AMOLED touchscreen with 'ClearBlack' technology -- Nokia's answer to Apple's retina display in the iPhone 4.

The E7 also has 16GB of internal memory and an 8-megapixel camera, although of more use to its target market of business types is its support for corporate email, preloaded productivity apps and security features.

It quickly emerged that the E7 was not due to go on sale until January, with a mooted £585 SIM-free price point. Nokia's subsequent promise of a December launch turned out to be distinctly optimistic.